The almanac

By United Press International  |  March 31, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, March 31, the 91st day of 2012 with 275 to follow.

The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Neptune, Mercury, Uranus and Saturn. The evening stars are Mars, Jupiter and Venus.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include French philosopher Rene Descartes in 1596; Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn in 1732; poet Edward FitzGerald in 1809; boxer Jack Johnson, the first African-American to hold the heavyweight title, in 1878; comedian Henry Morgan in 1915; actor/singer Richard Kiley in 1922; author and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia in 1924; United Farm Workers President Cesar Chavez in 1927; actor William Daniels, also in 1927 (age 85); hockey Hall of Fame member Gordie Howe in 1928 (age 83); fashion designer Liz Claiborne in 1929; author John Jakes in 1932 (age 80); trumpeter/bandleader Herb Alpert (The Tijuana Brass) in 1935 (age 77); political commentator Michael Savage in 1942 (age 70); former U.S. Vice President Al Gore Jr. in 1948 (age 64); actors Shirley Jones and Richard Chamberlain, both in 1934 (age 78), Christopher Walken in 1943 (age 69), Gabe Kaplan in 1945 (age 67); Rhea Perlman in 1948 (age 64), Ed Marinaro in 1950 (age 62) and Ewan McGregor in 1971 (age 41).

On this date in history:

In 1889, the Eiffel Tower was dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by its designer, Gustave Eiffel, during the Universal Exhibition of Arts and Manufacturers.

In 1906, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States, later renamed the National Collegiate Athletic Association, was established.

In 1918, daylight saving time went into effect in the United States for the first time.

In 1948, the U.S. Congress passed the Marshall Aid Act, a plan to rehabilitate war-ravaged Europe.

In 1954, the U.S. Air Force Academy was established at Colorado Springs, Colo.

In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Chinese-occupied Tibet and was granted political asylum in India.

In 1968, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson announced he wouldn't seek re-election and simultaneously ordered suspension of U.S. bombing of North Vietnam.

In 1971, U.S. Army Lt. William Calley was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the deaths of 22 Vietnamese civilians in what was called the My Lai massacre.

In 1991, the Warsaw Pact formally ended as Soviet commanders surrendered their powers in an agreement between pact members and the Soviet Union.

In 1992, the U.N. Security Council voted to impose air traffic and weapons sanctions against Libya for not surrendering six men wanted by the United States, Britain and France in the bombings of a U.S. jetliner and a French plane.

In 1994, a state of emergency was declared in the South African Zulu homeland of KwaZulu following deadly fighting before the country's first universal-suffrage elections.

In 1998, the U.N. Security Council voted to impose an arms embargo on Yugoslavia after unrest in the Serbian province of Kosovo turned violent.

In 2001, Serbian police and security forces attempted to arrest former President Slobodan Milosevic at his home in Belgrade on charges of corruption while in office. Supporters forced a stand-off that lasted until the next day when Milosevic surrendered.

In 2003, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri called on U.S. and British forces to withdraw immediately from Iraq because Iraqis were determined to "inflict the final defeat."

In 2005, Terri Schiavo, a 41-year-old Florida woman in a persistent vegetative state since 1990, died, 14 days after removal of her feeding tube amid a legal struggle over her fate reaching to the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2006, rescue workers searched for victims of a capsized cruise boat during a Persian Gulf party. Fifty-seven people were reported dead and 67 rescued.

In 2007, Pakistan successfully tested its Hataf-II Abdali ballistic missile, believed capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

In 2008, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 12,262.89, down 7.6 percent since the end of 2007. It was the worst quarterly performance in five years.

In 2009, a year later, the Dow Jones industrial average closed the month at 7,608.92, up 7.7 percent, while the Standard and Poor's 500 rose 8.5 percent, closing at 797.87 and the Nasdaq composite rebounded from six-year low and closed at 1,528.59, a one-month gain of 11 percent.

In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama announced an expansion of offshore development and exploration on the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico and support for areas of Alaska's North Slope as part of a broad new energy security plan.

In 2011, despite investor worries about the economy, notably housing problems and rising oil prices, and a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the U.S. stock market rallied in the second half of March for its best first quarter in 12 years.

A thought for the day: J.W. Fulbright said, "In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects."

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